In the following weeks, the state Assembly and Senate will have the opportunity to approve various bills that could immensely benefit upstate New York residents in need of a ride. Lyft and Uber, two popular ride-sharing apps, could soon be expanding to the area, according to Syracuse.com.
On April 9, Governor Andrew Cuomo approved and signed the state budget, which included language allowing Uber and Lyft to extend their services to the upstate region after 90 days.
However, WGRZ says that state legislators are heavily pushing to get these services up and running before the Fourth of July weekend. This small change has the support of 23 legislators so far, and it would move the date these services can start their operations by 10 full days.
If approved, upstate residents can begin taking advantage of the ride-share programs as early as June 29. This could be significantly advantageous, as the Fourth of July weekend is infamous for its higher rates of drunk driving incidents.
Uber and Lyft could also have some other major benefits for the upstate, at least according to the companies themselves. In 2015, Uber predicted that it would create 700 jobs in the Syracuse region alone.
Although certified pre-owned sales reached a record 2.6 million units in 2016, the fact remains that not everybody can afford the luxury of having their own vehicle, and many have no choice but to rely on public transportation methods. Both Uber and Lyft simplify the ride-sharing experience by allowing users to send for a ride with the touch of a smartphone.
Still, without a change in the state budget, these services will remain unavailable until July 9 or later.
“The intent always was to have this in place for the July 4 celebrations and the problems that go along with that,” Senator Michael Ranzenhofer, Representative of Amherst in Erie County, told WGRZ.
In the meantime, the Department of Motor Vehicles is diligently working on developing strict rules for drivers employed by the companies.